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Taal's tawilis added to list of endangered species
Photo shows Taal Lake as seen from Tagaytay, Cavite. Tawilis, which is endemic to Taal Lake, is the most dominant fish species caught in the area.
Sophie Zelazny CC BY-SA 4.0

Taal's tawilis added to list of endangered species

(Philstar.com) - January 24, 2019 - 10:04am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 11:12 p.m.) — Tawilis (Sardinella tawilis), the only freshwater sardine in the world, has been listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Switzerland-based IUCN said catches of tawilis have dwindled significantly since 1998 and declined by about 49 percent over the past 10 years.

“Within Lake Taal, there are major threats to fish diversity and this species due to overexploitation, pollution and competition and/or predation with introduced fishes, resulting in continuing declines in habitat quality and number of mature individuals,” the IUCN said.

Other factors that contribute to the decline of tawilis population include “illegal use of active fishing gears such as motorized push net and ring net, proliferation of fish cages and deterioration of water quality.”

Dr. Mudjekeewis Santos of the National Academy of Science and Technology said the assessment of tawilis as endangered was a “wake-up call.”

IUCN urged local government agencies to be more active in the implementation of different laws on lake management and conservation.

“We should not allow tawilis to become critically endangered by doing nothing. There’s still hope, the management is doing something,” Santos said in Filipino in an interview on GMA’s “24 Oras.”

Tawilis, which is endemic to Taal Lake in Batangas, is the most dominant fish species caught in the area.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this article featured a photo by Arvel Malubag that has been taken down because we failed to get his permission before using it. We apologize for the lapse and will make sure this will not happen again.)

ENDANGERED TAWILIS
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